Every parent would be upset when they discover their child is being bullied at school, but how do parents react when they learn that their kids, in fact, are the bullies? Bullying is a problem that affects millions of students of all races and socioeconomic classes, and despite governmental and activist efforts to curb this vice, it remains rampant in today’s society. Thousands of teen suicides across the world have been attributed to several forms of bullying including in-person harassment, taunting, and social media trolling. 
A South Carolina dad went viral in 2019 for his actions upon finding out his daughter was a bully. Randy Smalls is a father of three, including teenager Re’Onna, and he wasn’t about to let his daughter go scot-free without learning an important lesson. Re’Onna had rudely mocked the clothes of another girl, Ryan Reese, and her father was distraught at her behavior.
“I say, ‘When you laugh along, you’re co-signing the bullying,” the father told Yahoo Lifestyle. Randy had been bullied as a youngster and he knew exactly what Ryan was going through. In a bid to boost her self-esteem, Randy asked Ryan’s mother if he could take the girl shopping and the woman consented.
Interestingly, the money for Ryan’s shopping spree had been intended for Re’Onna, whose father says is a lover of fashion. However, she was forced to join the outing to help Ryan pick out new clothes.
“We got her hair done and we’ll be paying for twice-a-month appointments until the end of the year,” he said.
Ryan was already depressed from grief
According to Ryan’s mother, Richauna, the poor girl was trying to cope with a series of recent losses in her life before the bullying episode. She’d lost her father, her aunt, her grandfather, and was dealing with non-epileptic seizures due to intense stress. The girl was suffering, and the bullying only worsened her condition.
However, RIchauna is thankful for Randy’s incredible approach to resolving the issue.
“This is the first time I have seen a parent take such a stance on bullying,” While she’s sorry that Re’Onna, Randy’s daughter has to go through it, she’s glad the girl is learning a great lesson.
Randy has become a sort of father figure to Ryan whose father passed away, and now she has someone kind to look out for her.
“I wasn’t expecting it. I just started to cry. It (the bullying) was really sad for me because I had lost my grandpa, father, and aunt, and it really took me deep down in my depression,” Ryan explained.
Re’Onna also came to terms with her wrongdoings and apologized after a few days. Her father had done what only a caring parent would do and his actions laid a solid foundation for her future.
“After it all happened, I’m glad that we did this because she needed that help,” Re’Onna said.
More parents can learn from Randy
Parents are often too concerned watching out for signs of victimization to pay any attention to the root of the problem: your child could be the oppressor. If there were no oppressors, there’d be no victims. Signs of bullying may start to show at an early age, such as biting in kindergarten and poking other kids. At older ages, it’s often shown by aggressive tendencies and bad tempers, often culminating in gang beatings, body-shaming, and falsely accusing other kids. Bullying is NOT a phase that will blow away as a child gets older. It can only get worse. A lot of these children are dealing with self-esteem issues and take it out on other kids to feel powerful.
It’s not merely up to the school alone to discipline children. Parents have to monitor their child’s behavior and utterances closely, checking for signs of aggression or self-hatred. It’s helpful to communicate with a child from a young age, listen to them talk, and offer gentle advice. Offer kind words to boost their self-image and teach them empathy and compassion.
Also, a solid foundation of trust between a parent and a child makes it easier for them to open up about being bullied. If your child reports this to you, take appropriate actions by contacting the school, the bully’s parents, or even the police.
Bullying should never be allowed to “blow over.”
Parents can learn a lot from Randy’s wise actions and he’s certain that Re’Onna would never attempt to bully another kid again.
“As parents, we have to take responsibility for what our children do. We can teach our children, but when they go and are around other children they can veer off a little bit. When situations like this happen, we have to take action and be the parent and not the friend.”